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What Is Company Diversity?
Webster’s dictionary defines diversity as, the state of being diverse: variety,” but what does that mean to you and your company? As HR professionals whose role is to do what’s best for the company and employees, we need to properly educate company management, and work together to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization.
Why is Company Diversity Important?
According to The Harvard Review, The case for establishing a truly diverse workforce, at all organizational levels, grows more compelling each year. . . . The financial impact — as proven by multiple studies — makes this a no-brainer. Company diversity is important for more than the bottom dollar as well:
- Increases innovation. Having diversity in your company promotes creativity. Employees from different cultures can collaborate and conceptualize ideas in new ways.
- Attracts talent. A Deloitte survey revealed, “that 83 percent of millennials feel empowered and engaged in the workplace when they believe their company fosters an authentically inclusive culture.” If your company wants to attract top talent, staying current on what is attractive to the workforce will help foster interest and enthusiasm.
- Fosters integrity. Far too often we can let our companies get lost in increasing profits, expanding into new markets, and growing the business. However, we need to remain focused on what is just, humane and kind. Focusing on diversity in your workforce ensures your company reflects these values and the widely diverse culture it serves.
How To Measure Company Diversity
Often HR professionals are left to figure out company diversity alone, so it’s important to stay connected and keep learning. Based on your learning style, find education tailored to learning what diversity means. Seek knowledge from people who do not look like you and have different beliefs. If your company offers professional development, take courses to improve your understanding of the subject and understand how to increase your company’s diversity.
Diversity will not look the same in every organization, so a good first step is to consider your company’s mission, vision, and values and ensure your plan aligns with your business goals. A few suggestions are:
- Look at your metrics. Are your employees different ages, races, and genders? Does your workforce employ workers with different levels of education? Do you hire employees with learning disabilities?
- Consider your recruiting strategy. Does your recruiting strategy reflect the diverse company you want to create? Is there a way to omit names, addresses, and schools from your recruiting process? Is your hiring panel diverse? Where are you finding your talent? Do your job descriptions exclude any potential candidates?
- Pay attention to your hiring process. Is your interview process accessible for someone with a learning disability, speech impediment, or other learning disabilities?
- Examine your policies. Are your policies inclusive? Keep in mind that inclusive policies are far broader than excluding Columbus Day or adding Juneteenth. An inclusive approach considers that we all have different values and beliefs and has policies in place that honor that.
Executive Leadership Support
Once you have a plan and can demonstrate how diversity can help the organization, it’s critical to gain the support, budget, and commitment from your leadership team. The unfortunate reality is that without the support of leadership, you will not be able to make meaningful changes.
How to Promote Company Diversity
The best way to promote company diversity is to live, respect, and honor diversity yourself. After George Floyd’s murder, many companies felt compelled to act. Even though they issued statements and made donations, most didn’t do the challenging work to create an impactful change. You can do the work by sharing your company’s diversity goals on your public website, directing your charitable donations to organizations based on your employee support, getting out into the community, being involved, and being consistent.
Create a Diversity Statement
Writing a diversity statement should be an inclusive process involving employees and leadership from all levels. Why would your employees take ownership of something they did not agree to? The American Psychological Association states that “feeling valued at work was linked to better physical and mental health.” Including the voices of your diverse workforce on your company diversity statement will increase the overall sense of value in your organization.
Goals are a vital part of the planning process. Create KPIs and SMART goals for your diversity plan and report them to your board of directors, leadership team, and the general public. Transparency is key. Here are a few suggestions to consider before drafting your diversity goals as a measurement of where your company is now and how you will need to improve:
- Breakdown of applicants applied vs. hired according to gender, race, and education
- Ethnic breakdown of leadership team
- Pay transparency
- Exit interview data
- Current diversity initiatives
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Questions You’ve Asked Us About Company Diversity
With over 20 years in operations, Kimberly Bozeman, SHRM-SCP, PHR, looks at HR a little differently than your average consultant. She can talk ROIs, KPIs, and P&Ls, and understands that business needs to make a profit to stay in business. Today she takes the best practices from Fortune 500 companies and translates them for small businesses. You’d never send a football team out on the field without a solid offensive and defensive plan. When it comes to running a business, you need a solid operations and human resources plan too.
As a serious football fan (don’t call me during the game!), Kim can coach you on how to build the best team to support your business goals. People are the key to maximizing your profit and your productivity. As the founder of KNB Sensible Solutions, Kim works with small businesses to develop the structures and processes you need so you can grow and scale while staying compliant with all of California’s rules, regulations, and guidelines. Kim holds a BA in Political Science from CSU, Stanislaus and certification in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace from the University of Southern Florida Business school. Kim is actively involved in her community and is an advocate for social justice. She’s the Deputy Director of the Voter Access Project, advocates for small businesses with the National Small Business Association (NSBA) Leadership Council, and on the Cal-IPGCA Cohort 2022 helping develop public-private partnerships.
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